Negotiation Team Wins Regionals for Fourth Consecutive Year

2016-17 Negotiations TeamThe Alexander Blewett III School of Law ABA Negotiation Competition Team returned from Chicago, Illinois with the best overall finish for all three teams in a decade. Frans Andersson ‘17 and Kirsi Luther ‘19 finished in first place at ABA-sponsored Regional Negotiation Competition held November 12 and 13. Chicago's John Marshall Law School hosted the regional event, bringing together twenty-four teams from law schools throughout the Midwest and mountain states.

Besides returning with first place honors, the Andersson/Luther appearance in the quarterfinal round sets two new records. The UM team has now advanced to the quarterfinals at regional competition in five consecutive years. The Andersson/Luther entry to national competition is the fourth consecutive appearance for a UM team at nationals, another team record.

The UM team of Asa Hohman ‘18 and Jennifer Morgan ‘18 finished in a two-way tie for fifth place. In another first, the School of Law fielded a “ghost team” at regional competition. Due to an unequal number of teams, the ABA organizers requested another competitor to make up the shortfall of entrants. Ghost teams compete but are not permitted to advance. UM team member Haley Ford ‘19 was tapped to participate as a solo entry. Ford ended in a three-way tie for sixth place, no small feat for a solo 1L competitor. Due to a scheduling conflict, Ford’s teammate, Sean McQuillan ‘19, was unable to participate at regional competition.

"What a remarkable group of competitors,” commented team coach Klaus Sitte. “The Team’s endurance became a significant factor in this year’s competition,” said Sitte. “Travel problems seem to sap energy but the Team persevered.”

Sitte has coached the School of Law’s negotiation teams since 1990, with eight previous teams competing at nationals and one international competition appearance. UM negotiations teams have previously place second and third nationally.

The Andersson/Luther appearance into the regional final round marks the twentieth time UM negotiation teams have advanced to compete in the quarterfinal rounds.

Reflecting on his experience, Andersson observed, “Team preparation prior to Chicago demanded significant commitment and tested our resolve. We owe our accomplishment to the many hours of practice with the entire team and coach.”

“I’m so proud of this year’s team. When we lose team members at the end of season and add new members, we somehow seem to grow professionally the following year. The constant is the coaching,” added Hohman.

Team members Morgan, Ford and Luther were making their first appearance in competition this year. Ford had the unique experience of competing solo and said, “Another team expressed shock when they learned they had just negotiated against a 1L.”

Morgan added, “That first few minutes of conversation, not knowing the other party’s approach, interests or disposition, is just fascinating.”

Luther was quick to credit her teammates, “The entire team was essential to the result. Without everyone’s devotion to the many hours of practice, this wouldn’t happen.”

McQuillan summed up his team experience, adding, “The skills we’ve learned by participating on this team will be essential in any area of law practice.”

“The competition was tremendous learning experience, facing teams from other areas of the country," Andersson commented. Luther agreed. "I can't think of a more exciting way to end all our preparations," said Luther. "The competition was a way to test ourselves and our ability to communicate with teams with much different backgrounds, skills and attitudes."

"What a tremendous opportunity!" said Andersson. "We’re really looking forward to representing UM at the national competition.”

Andersson and Luther will take a short break before preparing for the February 2017 national competition in Chicago.